Ball Machine Recommendations

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by AYone, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. AYone

    AYone Rookie

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    Hi,

    My coop has three har-tru tennis courts. We're considering buying a ball machine for the upcoming season. With so many options, it's hard to choose. Does anyone have any recommendations for a solid machine for under $2,000 (the cheaper the better)? How do the battery operated ones work, because I'm not sure if there is an accessible A/C plug to power it?

    Thanks much,
    Andrew
     
    #1
  2. WileyCoyote

    WileyCoyote Rookie

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    Easy

    I have a two year old Silent Partner Star. It has been an outstanding value for me.

    A Star would likely be about $1K or so delivered. It has a remote and the heavy duty battery that outlasts me a long time. It also has remote control of feed and sweep, but otherwise all settings are manual, including topspin, backspin, speed, feed frequency, and launch angle.

    SP service is the best there is.

    For the money, for me it is the best value available.

    Harry
     
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  3. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    From most of the feedback on this board, tennis tutor is the way to go.
     
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  4. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I am very happy with my Silent Partner Star but in your situation where you'll likely have many different users, some of whom may not know what the heck they are doing or who don't treat other people's property the way it should be treated, I might consider one of the Playmate models, like the Volley which is under $2k. Playmates seem to be favored by many instructors who use their machines constantly and by clubs which rent out their machines.

    I paid less than half your budget for my machine and I'd do it again in a heartbeat but I know that I'm going to be the only one using it and that I will treat it right. Tennis Tutor (and Wilson which I believe are manufactured by Tennis Tutor) and Lobster also make good machines imo but in your situation I'd lean toward a Playmate.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
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  5. AYone

    AYone Rookie

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    Thank you. That's a great point (beernutz, ha). The machine will probably get a lot of wear and some abuse, so on one hand we want a durable machine and on the other we don't want to pay hand over fist for something that might break down over time. I'll research these suggestions.
     
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  6. AYone

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    Unfortunately I don't see playermate on TW's site.
     
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  7. Chotobaka

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    This. Balancing features and build quality, you'd be hard pressed to find anything better than the Volley. The only downside for me is the fact that it will not fit into the trunk of my car like my SP Edge Star. The other machine I would seriously take a close look at is the SP Smart, which is fully loaded feature-wise. The Volley is literally built like a tank, though. The way the hopper pops up and the externally mounted battery also pluses IMO.
     
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  8. AYone

    AYone Rookie

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    Wow, so you actually have a ball machine you take around with you? Never even considered that because I figured they'd be too heavy and cumbersome to transport. I should totally do that because I can never find a partner. Where do I find this SP Edge Star.
     
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  9. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    It is playmate as in www.playmatetennis.com. You might try googling playmate ball machines and you'll find several online retailers that carry them.
     
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  10. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Silent partner's ball machines like the Star can be found at www.sptennis.com/ballmachines.asp .

    My Star is pretty portable and weighs about 40 pounds IIRC so you can carry it up and down stairs. It won't fit in my Miata obviously but I have neighborhood courts that I can walk to where I use it so I almost never drive it anywhere.
     
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  11. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    If you want to buy at TW there are lots of portable, battery operated machines available. Personally, I think the SP Star is a great basic machine for grooving strokes. If you are not already familiar with all the things you can do with a basic ball machine you might check out some of Playmate's DVD's. I think all of the major ball machine companies have a good track record for customer service, so no worries there. Good luck.
     
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  12. AYone

    AYone Rookie

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    I watched the SP videos on their website. They look pretty good. I am still smacking myself for not thinking of this over the winter season. Screw my coop, I'm going to get a personal machine.

    What about the Lobster Elite 1 version? That seems even more portable. I wonder if it's loud though.

    The playmate looks the least portable to me, but probably good for my coop.
     
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  13. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    tennis tutor is pretty awesome. If you ever have issues with your machine they are very knowledgeable and helpful. This is mostly for the portable machines. I think the big ones used at clubs are the playmate.
     
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  14. AYone

    AYone Rookie

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    But only the plus does topspin and it looks pretty big, no?
     
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  15. AYone

    AYone Rookie

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    Will the silent partner fit in a large sedan trunk? Can you turn it on its side? I have a short drive to the courts I play at in the winter.
     
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  16. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I used my SUV the few times I have driven my Star to the courts. I don't think it would hurt it to lay it on its side and I expect that on its side it would fit in most trunks. It might even fit in some of them upright as its dimensions are 20"L X 16"W X 24"H.

    However, if it was me I think I would use the back seat and just put it on top of a folded blanket or something similar to protect the seat. Even though it only weighs 46 lbs I would be a little paranoid about damaging the seat.
     
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  17. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    Fits in the trunk of my Alfa 164 Super with a large Hoag hopper and a good sized bag fully of cones and other goodies. Ditto for our Subaru wagon (fits easily in the smallest, rear-most area). Large sedan should be a piece of cake.
     
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  18. AYone

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    This is a random question, but do you think it should also fit in a revolving door? The courts I play at have this for their entrance door. I guess its an average size or small revolving glass door.
     
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